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 Sermons on important subjects by Rev. Paul C. Jong

 

The Emergence of the Antichrist


< Revelation 13:1-18 >

"Then I stood on the sand of the sea. And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name. Now the beast which I saw was like a leopard, his feet were like the feet of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. The dragon gave him his power, his throne, and great authority. And I saw one of his heads as if it had been mortally wounded, and his deadly wound was healed. And all the world marveled and followed the beast. So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, 'Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?' And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months. Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven. It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation. All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. If anyone has an ear, let him hear. He who leads into captivity shall go into captivity; he who kills with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints. Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon. And he exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence, and causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived. He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed. He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666."



Exegesis

Verse 1: Then I stood on the sand of the sea. And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name.

The Apostle John saw a beast rising up out of the sea. Through this Beast that John saw, God shows us what the Antichrist will do when he emerges on this earth. God showed John this Beast with seven heads and ten horns not to tell us that a beast in this shape will actually appear and be active in the world, but to tell us that someone with the authority and power of this Beast will appear, persecute the saints, and make martyrs out of them.

Does this then mean that everything that appears in Revelation is only symbolic? Not at all! Just to reveal the appearance and works of the Antichrist in the end times, God could not but speak through such visions. This is the wisdom and power with which God alone can speak. Through the Word of Revelation 13, we must be able to see the vivid picture of the end times.

What John saw first was the shape of a beast that came out of the sea. The Beast's seven heads and ten horns here refer to the power of the Antichrist to come out to this world. The phrase, "on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name," means that the Antichrist will gather together the nations of the world and stand against God. It also tells us that he will rule over all the kings of the world. The ten crowns refer to their victory, and the blasphemous name on the Beast's head refers to their pride.

In the future, the world will be ruled by a united body of nations, based on a governing system that pursues the common interests of the states thus unified. This integrated superpower, a huge supranational entity, will extend its sovereignty and rule over all the nations of the world, and it will eventually do the works of the Antichrist when he finally makes his appearance on this earth. He is God's enemy, the one who works clothed with the power of Satan, and a servant of the Devil.


Verse 2: Now the beast which I saw was like a leopard, his feet were like the feet of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. The dragon gave him his power, his throne, and great authority.

This Word tells us what the Antichrist will do to the saints and the people of the world with his appearance. The Antichrist to come will do such cruel things to the saints because he would have received from Satan the authority and power to do these things. This shows us just how viciously the Antichrist will treat the saints when he makes his appearance, indicating what kind of suffering the saints would endure from the Antichrist with their martyrdom.

This Word shows us how ferocious the Antichrist is. The phrase, "his feet were like the feet of a bear," indicates how destructive his power is. The "Dragon" here was originally an angel created by God, who had challenged Him for His throne. The Beast that appears in this chapter refers to the one who received authority from the Dragon and who does the works of standing against God and His saints.

Satan, an angel driven out of Heaven, will give his power and authority to the one who would stand against God, and lead him to his death by making him fight against God and His saints. The Antichrist, clothed in Satan's power, will viciously oppress the people of God and all the mankind in the future.


Verse 3: And I saw one of his heads as if it had been mortally wounded, and his deadly wound was healed. And all the world marveled and followed the beast.

This verse tells us that the Antichrist will emerge as one of the seven kings. The Antichrist is called as the Beast because he will do beastly things to the saints.

Here, the enemy of God and the saints will appear as the one who is able to solve even the problem of death in the end times. As such, many people of the end times believe him to be capable of solving all the problems that plagues the earth. But he is the enemy of God. Though he will make the worldly people surrender to him, he will be destroyed in the end for standing against God and His saints.


Verse 4: So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, "Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?"

This tells us that the Dragon will give all his power to the one who does beastly things, whom he would have turned into his servant. Because of this, all the people of this world would think of Dragon as a god, tremble in fear, and worship him. Because at this time no king on this earth would have the kind of power that the Beast wields, no one would be able to stop him from proclaiming himself as a god and his deification.

As the Dragon gives the Beast great power, everyone would respect the Dragon and the Beast and worship the latter as their god. When the Antichrist possessing such great power appears, those who love the darkness more than the light will follow him, worship him as their god, and raise him high.


Verse 5: And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months.

The Beast will receive from the Dragon his prideful heart and his authority to speak prideful words for three years and six months (42 months). The Beast would thus receive the authority to harm the saints and the people of this world for these three and a half years.

The Beast, who is the Antichrist, will receive the authority to utter words that stand against God and to blaspheme His Church for three and a half years. All the sinners will thus end up surrendering to this Beast, and ultimately fall into their destruction together with the Beast.


Verse 6: Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven.

The Beast, having received authority from the Dragon, will blaspheme God, all His angels and saints for three years and six months, cursing and defying them. All these things would be done according to what the Dragon tells him to do. Here, we must realize and believe that this act of Satan-that is, giving the Beast his authority to blaspheme God for three and a half years-would be made possible only by the permission of God.

Essentially, the Antichrist exists to blaspheme God and His people. Having received authority from the Dragon, the Antichrist will blaspheme the name of God and His people for the first three and a half years of the Great Tribulation.


Verse 7: It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation.

The Beast will receive the authority to kill the saints from the Dragon and make martyrs out of the saints. And he will also rule over the whole world, having been granted the authority to subject everyone in this world under his reign.

The Antichrist will kill the saints, for the only way for him to reign this world would be to fight against and overcome the saints. The wirepuller of the Antichrist is the Devil, a fallen angel in his essence who wants to be worshiped like God. And by killing the saints he will be adored as such by those who are not born again. In this time of the Tribulation, all the saints will be persecuted and martyred by the Antichrist.


Verse 8: All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

When the Antichrist conquers this earth, everyone except those who have been born again by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit-that is, all those who otherwise have not been born again-will worship him as their god. But the Antichrist will be worshiped only by the sinners whose names have not been written in the Book of Life.


Verse 9: If anyone has an ear, let him hear.

This tells us that whosoever belongs to the people of God must prepare his/her faith to be martyred, for all these things will be fulfilled exactly as written in the Scripture.


Verse 10: He who leads into captivity shall go into captivity; he who kills with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.

God says here that He will bring the same death and tribulations to those who kill the born-again saints in the end times. The saints will be killed by the Antichrist and his followers as the first three and a half years of the Tribulation pass by. But to all those who would thus have killed the saints, God will pay back with even greater tribulations and sufferings. As such, all the saints must unite their hearts, overcome this difficult Tribulation with their faith in the Word of the Lord, and give glory to God by embracing their martyrdom.


Verse 11: Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon.

Here we see not the first Beast, but the second beast. The second beast, too, thinks and speaks like the Dragon. Not only does he think that he is like the Dragon, but basing his acts on this belief, he persecutes the saints even more viciously. This beast is the prophet of the Antichrist.


Verse 12: And he exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence, and causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.

The second beast, granted power by the first Beast, would worship the first Beast and make everyone who still remains on this earth worship him also. His work would be idolizing the first Beast and making everyone worship him like God. Because of this work, the first Beast and he would become the objects of all the people's worship like God. This is his essence, and the true self of Satan.


Verse 13: He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men.

As Satan would perform great miracles on this earth in the sight of men, he would be able to deceive many people. He would even have the power to make fire come down from heaven on the earth.


Verse 14: And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived.

But Satan will soon reveal his true colors. What he wants to do is to steal from the people's hearts their faith in God and have them worship him instead. To achieve this, he will perform many miracles before men and kill the people of God. To fulfill his final purpose-that is, to become like God-he will then try to climb into God's place. He thus makes an image to the first Beast and makes people worship it like God.


Verse 15: He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed.

As the biggest obstacle to deifying himself would be the people of God, Satan would do his utmost to get rid of them. He will thus murder all those who do not worship the image of the Beast, no matter how many they may be. But the saints will not surrender to this Beast. As such, countless saints would willingly embrace their martyrdom for their faith at this time, looking toward their afterlife. As the Antichrist would have brought great sufferings to the saints, God would have prepared for him the plagues of the seven bowls and the punishment of the eternally burning hell.


Verse 16-17: He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

At the peak of the Tribulation, the Antichrist will require all to receive a mark on their right hands or their foreheads, in order to ensure that everyone comes under his control. This mark is the mark of the Beast. To make everyone his servant, the Antichrist will coerce the people to receive his mark.

Holding people's lives as his collateral, the Antichrist then proceeds with his political schemes. He thus makes it impossible for anyone who does not have his mark of the Beast, the proof of his/her allegiance to him, to buy or sell anything in anyway. This mark is the name of the Beast, or his number. When the Beast comes to the world in the future, everyone will be required to receive his mark, made of his name or its number. We must therefore remind ourselves of God's warning that all those who receive this mark will be thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone.


Verse 18: Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666.

The number of the Beast is 666. This means, in short, that the Beast himself is God. Is there a number that indicates that "a man is God?" A number bearing such meaning is the number of the Antichrist. As such, the saints cannot receive this mark, for only the Triune God is the true God for us. The saints must overcome Satan with their faith in the Lord and give glory to God. This is the best faith and worship with which the saints can give all glory to the Lord. Let us win with our faith.



Explanation of the Key Terms

The topic of chapter 13 is the appearance of the Antichrist and Satan. With their appearance, the saints will engage in a spiritual battle, in which they would have no choice but be martyred by the Antichrist. The Antichrist is a servant of Satan, the very one who would persecute the saints and have them be martyred.

Living in the present era, all the Christians and non-Christians of the world alike must know the Word of Revelation. Chapter 13 of Revelation prophesizes that a time will come when Satan would idolize the Antichrist like God. Satan will give great authority to one of the politically powerful leaders of the world and make him stand against God and His saints. In particular, the Antichrist will idolize himself as God and confront Him.

Everyone, including the people of God, will suffer greatly from the tribulations and persecutions brought by the beastly Antichrist. The main passages shows us that the Antichrist's image, having received Satan's breath of life, would speak as if it were alive, as well as have the authority to harm the people. Those who are not born again would thus surrender to him and become his servants. All those who do not worship the idolized image of Satan, on the other hand, would be killed, no matter how many they may be. Satan also makes all to receive his mark or his number on their right hands or foreheads.

We must all prepare our faith in advance, and fight against and overcome Satan with our faith in the future by understanding and believing in the meaning of this Word revealed in Revelation 13 beforehand. Today's people of God must give glory to the Lord by learning from and believing in this Word of Revelation, and thus standing firmly against the Antichrist and overcoming him in victory.



The Origin of Hell

We must first know why there must be hell and why it came to its existence. Hell is a place prepared for Satan. The Bible tells us that he was not Satan from the beginning, but one of the many angels created by God. But by challenging God with his pride, this angel became Satan for the price of his sin, and hell is the place that God created to confine him. God made hell to give Satan and his followers the punishment reserved for those stand against Him.

Isaiah 14:12-15 explains how this angel ended up turning into Satan: "How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: 'I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation On the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.' Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, To the lowest depths of the Pit."

This angel who stood against God in Heaven coveted the throne of God. Seeing that only God was above him, he sought to drive Him out and sit on His throne, and as a result of this failed rebellion, he himself was driven out of Heaven by God and ended up becoming Satan. The Bible also refers to the angels who followed Satan in this rebellion as demons.

To render His just punishment to the creatures that had turned against Him, God made this place called "hell." Though Satan may seem to challenge God endlessly and blaspheme His works, when the gospel of the water and the Spirit is preached to all, he will eventually be bound in the bottomless pit for a thousand years.

Because Satan would fundamentally not repent his sin of turning against God, he would continue to try to raise himself high as God, and end up receiving the fearful punishment of hell for eternity. Until his very end, Satan will continue to stand against God and the righteous by making the people idolize him. The Bible calls this fallen angel, who blasphemes God and His saints, Satan or the Devil, and the Dragon or the serpent of old (Revelation 12:9).



666, the Number of the Beast

God will finally bind Satan in his prison. But before he is confined to hell, Satan will make the people receive the mark of 666, his name and number, on their right hands or foreheads. He will forbid everyone who does not have this mark from buying or selling anything.

The number 7 is the number of perfection, which implies God. On the other hand, the number 6 implies man, for God created man on the sixth day according to His own image and His likeness. The number of the Beast here, 666, reveals the pride of man trying to become like the Triune God. In not too distant future, the time will come to this world when the people would receive this mark of 666.

Revelation 13:1 tells us that seven kings will emerge out of ten nations. Of them, the one who has great power, and given authority from Satan, will subject this world under his rule. Performing great miracles such as healing his mortal wounds and bringing down fire from the sky, he will make all the people of the world follow him.

In other words, as Satan makes people follow him more than they follow God, many people end up worshipping him as God. As heroes emerge in trouble times, the Antichrist, having received great authority from Satan, will seek to be followed after as God by everyone by resolving the difficult politico-economic problems that the world would then be facing. Eventually, Satan will reveal his true colors by trying to challenge God directly in the end times.

As we can see from the Book of Daniel, the Great Tribulation will turn extremely harsh when it reaches the end of its first half. This first half, lasting for three and a half years, is the period of horrendous plagues and Satan's powerful reign. But when these first three and a half years are over, what follows will be an even greater tornado of tribulations. At this time, Satan will be given authority to do his works among the people of the world, killing everyone who does not listen to him, deceiving them with his miracles that bring down fire from the sky, idolizing himself, and making them do the works of blasphemy against God.

At the same time, the Antichrist, having received all authority from Satan, will blaspheme the saints and kill all the saints who do not obey him. As verses 7-8 tell us, "It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation. All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world." There are, however, those who refuse to worship the Beast at this time, and these are none other than the born-again people of God whose names have been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb.



The Event of Martyrdom

Martyrdom is an event that arises when the saints who have been born again by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit defend their faith in the Lord by rejecting the mark of Satan. Put differently, the Great Tribulation will get into its full-blown stage as its first half-period of three and a half years come to close. At this time, the righteous' faith must get ready for their martyrdom.

However, those who, though believing in Jesus as their Savior, have not believed in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and thus have not received the remission of their sins and still have sin in their hearts, will end up siding with Satan and eventually surrender to him. Because the Christians who believe in Jesus but are not born again have no Holy Spirit in their hearts, when push comes to shove, they will capitulate to Satan, receive his mark on their right hands or foreheads, and worship him as God in the end.

We must know clearly that those who do not worship Satan at this time would be only those who have received the remission of their sins. We must also realize that God has clearly told us that He will throw, along with Satan, all those who surrender to the Beast into the lake of fire and brimstone.

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Verses 9-10 tell us, "If anyone has an ear, let him hear. He who leads into captivity shall go into captivity; he who kills with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints." At this time, the Antichrist and his followers will bring great persecution to the righteous, selling them out and putting them to death with their swords. What we must definitely realize here, however, is that God will most certainly avenge us on our enemies who persecute and kill the righteous.

As such, the saints must go through their persecution and death by believing in God's promises. Were God not to bring His vengeance to our enemies, how could we ever close our eyes in our frustrated sense of justice? But as God has promises us to avenge us on our enemies who harm us, our death would not be in vain. God will most certainly avenge on those who torment and repress the righteous, and guide the righteous to their resurrection, rapture, and the marriage supper of the Lamb, making them reign with the Lord for a thousand years and live with Him for eternity. We all believe in this and hope for it. Our Lord therefore is the best God who will fulfill all our hopes.

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